RTA Cabinets | Better Quality for Less Money!?! YES PLEASE
Hey there friends! Have you been following along with our fixer upper adventure? If so, I’m sure you’ve seen me talking more than once about RTA cabinets. In fact, if you follow my Instagram stories you would have already seen an impromptu tutorial on how to put RTA cabinets together! Sayyy whaaaattt! So you should probably head over to Instagram and check me out.
So what are RTA cabinets? And why do I purchase them for every remodel we do?
The RTA stands for ‘read to assemble,’ so yes, you do have to put these cabinets together yourself but that’s where saving money comes in! If you have any kind of experience putting IKEA furniture together, I promise you’ll be able to put RTA cabinets together.
When I first started with RTA cabinets, I was intimated by having to design my own kitchen. What if the cabinets don’t fit? What if I measured wrong? How do I know what size cabinet to put above the fridge or stove? While this can all still happen, most RTA companies have made it easy to design kitchens.
Most of the RTA cabinet websites now have design programs where you can input your dimensions and figure out a layout for your kitchen! I love playing around with kitchen layouts from the comfort of my own home, in my pajamas with a cup of tea. I’m just not a fan of sitting in those little chairs with a sales guy asking me questions and designing the kitchen for me… I’m a control freak and like to do it myself! What if he doesn’t give me all the options? What if I want two smaller cabinets in place of a bigger one? What if, what if, what if.
In addition to everything I already mentioned there are two HUGE major and IMPORTANT reasons I purchase RTA cabinets over cabinets off the shelf at big box stores. And it’s simply because I save money and also get a better quality cabinet.
RTA Cabinets Save Money
Right off the bat, I save money on RTA cabinets simply because I have to put them together myself! You wouldn’t believe how much they charge to put cabinets together. I was really curious about the cost of assembly and got a quote just for funsies when we were doing the apartment remodel above the garage and it was almost $1,000 to put 6 cabinets together!! So right there I saved $1,000 just by putting them together myself.
The process to put them together is not difficult whatsoever. I will warn you though: I have ordered from at least 4 different RTA cabinet companies and the directions to assemble the cabinets absolutely stink from every single one. This last time I ordered cabinets, the one set of directions didn’t even have all the pieces listed in the legend and another didn’t even come with instructions! But usually, there’s only one way the cabinet can go together so you’ll figure out real quick if it’s not right.
On top of assembly I also save on shipping. It’s a lot less money to ship flat boxes than it is to ship pre-assembled cabinetry – unless you’re picking them up from the store (but that still requires multiple trips for us which is a lot of wasted time and gas running around.)
RTA Cabinets are Better Quality
Not only do I save money but the cabinets are better quality. When I purchase RTA cabinets I make sure there is no MDF or particle board used in the construction of the cabinets. Most companies I have purchased from have solid wood frames and doors and the boxes themselves are made from cabinet grade plywood – not MDF or particle board.
As a side note on MDF and particle board – I wanted to just give another reason as to why someone would want to consider RTA cabinets. Particle board especially sucks moisture right up and swells, warps and bows – it’s terrible! I’m sure you’ve seen people’s bathrooms where the vanity is bulging or peeling – that’s because it’s probably made of particle board and got wet or damp.
Most of the companies I’ve ordered from also send corner braces and better yet they’re usually metal! Just be weary of the plastic ones that usually come on the cabinets from home stores… they can break. However, thee plastic braces are better than no braces at all – don’t even think about buying cabinets that don’t have any corner braces (or make your own.)
The other thing I like about RTA cabinets is that I can add in little extras here and there that I normally wouldn’t get from the big box stores. For example, for the kitchen in our fixer upper I ordered two roll out drawers for two of the base cabinets because the cost of the cabinet plus the roll out drawer was still less than one pre-assembled big box store cabinet. (I’ll add a picture here when we finish assembling the drawer.)
I also have so many more choices when it comes to the type of cabinet I want. For example, if I need a 36″ base cabinet I usually only have one option from a big box store – two doors, one shelf and one drawer. However, from RTA companies they have loads of different configuations… maybe I want a 36″ base with two drawers and one shelf, or maybe I want one that has three drawers and one door or maybe all drawers and no doors… you get the idea. I just love the OPTIONS!
I did a real quick comparison of a 30″ base cabinet from Home Depot and a 30″ base cabinet from the most recent RTA company I purchased from, Lily Ann Cabinets. The prices were $218 from HD and $190 from Lily Ann. Both have a shelf, soft closing hinges and real wood doors. However, the cabinet box itself from HD is made with particle board and the one from Lily Ann is made of cabinet grade plywood. This is a huge difference! It’s like you’re getting an upgraded cabinet for less. So really, we’re not even comparing apples to apples there!
So there you have it… the reasons I love RTA cabinets
- Cheaper because you put them together yourself
- Cheaper because they’re easier to ship
- Better quality for less money
- Lots of color options
- Lots of design choices
If you’re thinking of buying new cabinets, at least go check out some RTA websites – just google RTA cabinets and lots of companies come up. I’ve used Lily Ann Cabinets, Conestoga Wood, RTA Cabinet Store and one or two others that were so long ago I can’t remember! Nice cabinets can really set off a kitchen and.. remember what they say “kitchens and bathroom sell houses.”
If you’re currently remodeling your kitchen you might want to check out these blog posts:
- Five Ways to Save Money on Your Kitchen Remodel – [HERE]
- How to Gel Stain Kitchen Cabinets – [HERE]
- How to Install a Vinyl Plank Floor (that looks like hardwood!) – [HERE]
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